Real Madrid will remember their visit to Pamplona for a long time. Because if the trip to the Navarran capital was already an ordeal, the offensive impotence that he showed in El Sadar ended up lacerating his hopes of snatching the leadership from Atlético, wasting the opportunity that the postponement of the match that Diego Pablo Simeone’s squad had to play this Saturday against Athletic in the Metropolitano had given him because of the storm of snow that lashes the peninsula. Unable again to translate their dominance of possession on occasions with true foundation against an adversary well sheltered in their field, the whites were frozen against Osasuna and already feel their breath on the back of Barça, who after a bad start to the season he is only three points behind Zinedine Zidane’s team.
Doomed again to inconsequential possessions, without the necessary depth and imbalance, Real Madrid did not manage to hurt Osasuna at any time, who accepted his fourth consecutive draw despite not taking him off the bottom of the table after completing a remarkable defensive exercise that completely extinguished the visiting team, in which only Modric rose above a proposal too timid to dismantle the orderly red rearguard.
Not surprisingly, the tactical disposition of both teams responded to the most predictable script from the first moment. Osasuna expected a Madrid that governed the ball with the logical difficulties that it imposed a lawn that got worse as snow fell on the green, despite the enormous previous work of local employees that allowed the match to be played under adverse conditions.
Herrera, Nacho Vidal, Aridane, David García, Juan Cruz, Oier, Moncayola, Roberto Torres, Rubén García (Jony, min. 77), Iñigo Pérez and Calleri (Budimir, min. 77).
Courtois, Lucas Vázquez, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Mendy, Casemiro, Modric (Isco, min. 75), Kroos, Asensio (Valverde, min. 66), Hazard (Mariano, min. 75) and Benzema.
Soto Grado (Riojano Committee). Without reprimands.
Match corresponding to the eighteenth round of the League, played in El Sadar, behind closed doors.
Zidane had assured in the previous one that the storm Filomena would not condition his eleven and that is how it was in effect. Why the French gave the stripes back to Hazard, although the state of the grass was not exactly ideal for his physical battering. The Belgian was not a starter since the clash against Alavés at the end of November, in which he suffered his umpteenth setback in the form of injury. In need of further filming, the ‘7’ passed without pain or glory through El Sadar.
Without Carvajal, sanctioned, and with Lucas Vázquez as a replacement on the right-hand side, the whites lacked depth on the wings and it was difficult for them to find spaces in the center due to the good work of the red side. Zidane’s team usually suffers more against rivals who close to it than against those who admit to melee. It is not a trivial fact that he had succumbed to three of the four squads that had the lowest percentage of possession registered before Matchday 18. The one that completed that caboose was precisely Osasuna, who also ended up giving him a blow. It is thus explained that the visitors they were left without finishing at halftime for the first time so far this year, despite his overwhelming mastery of leather. Not that Osasuna threatened too much, but at least Oier forced Courtois to repel a shot off a corner kick. Modric barely showed traces of knowing how to interpret what Real Madrid needed to return with a good booty to the capital, while his teammates relapsed in predictable advances.
Real Madrid returned from the changing rooms with another march. Lucas Vázquez tried Herrera’s gloves with a center-kick to cap off an action in which Modric broke with a scribble pass and then Asensio with a shot after a masterful control that the goalkeeper took out his fists. The momentum of the whites began to activate Benzema, who had disappeared in the first half, and Hazard, spirited but with little spark. The ex of Chelsea continues stiff. He hardly faces and only looks in close-ups. The lionés got to mark, after a save of Herrera, but it was offside.
Zidane withdrew Asensio to enter Valverde, which meant a change of drawing. From 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, with Hazard forming an offensive duo with Benzema. Madrid pressed, but Osasuna was deployed with sufficiency. Roberto Torres had it, but the Navarrese did not adjust the auction well after a good service from Rubén García. The visitors tried with lateral centers that almost never bear fruit, so their coach opted to enlist a finisher like Mariano by taking Hazard out of the box. He also put Isco in, a strange change since the relieved was Modric, the most intoned so far. Neither the Catalan nor the Andalusian managed to shake up the shock as demanded by Zidane’s unimaginative team.
The whites, thick, put more heart than head in the final stretch and Osasuna’s work had its well-deserved award. With three more games in their saddlebags, Real Madrid is one point behind Atlético and Barça is on their heels. A serious warning for the champion to seek answers as soon as possible to the deficiencies that he displayed in El Sadar.